Highlights from the Winter Board Meeting
The St. Paul’s School Board of Trustees convened in New York for its annual winter meeting from January 23 to 24. A summary of meeting highlights follows.
Interim Rector Amy Richards provided updates on the student experience as well as several ongoing initiatives.
• Student Experience: The student-led and community-wide re-commitment to joy, the theme set by the Student Council in the fall, is evident in the spirited support of fellow students in athletics, theatrical performances, in Chapel, and most aspects of School life.
• Gender Equity Task Force/All Gender Housing: The Gender Equity Task Force recommends moving forward with all-gender housing in the fall of 2019. The consensus is one of readiness on the part of the community. The move would follow similar initiatives already established among our peer schools. The task force is currently engaged in developing an application process (requiring parental approval), policies, procedures, and support guidelines for interested students.
• Compliance Overseer: As part of the settlement with the New Hampshire Attorney General, the School agreed to the appointment of an independent compliance officer and has selected Jeffrey T. Maher, who will be embedded in the community as a full-time staff member beginning February 4, 2019. In his role as a monitor and a resource, he will spend his first few months on the grounds learning about educational programming, policies, and procedures.
• Bridges Program: Over the course of the academic year, the School has piloted a program designed to support students from families new to boarding school life. The program, with 19 student participants and 18 student mentors, has received strong positive feedback. A summer program to provide an even smoother transition into the 2019-20 school year for interested new students is planned.
Vice Rector for Faculty Michael Spencer presented an overview of the School’s hiring practices. As part of the interview process, the School conducts an additional hiring assessment that sheds light on motivators, competencies, and behavioral style for the top three or four candidates for any faculty position. In addition to standardized questions asked of each candidate’s references, including at least one supervisor, the Rector calls the head of the school of the candidate’s former employer as an extra measure of assurance.
Candace E. Browning-Platt P’12 will serve an additional year as treasurer and co-chair of the Investment Committee.
The board approved the naming of the Grenfell-Gardner de Ricau Family Fund and the James Appleton Thayer Prize per the gift acceptance policy requiring a two-thirds majority vote.
The board reviewed a draft of the School’s budget for the 2019-20 academic year. The budget anticipates expenses totaling approximately $58 million, not including need-based financial aid of more than $11.9 million. After reviewing the proposed budget, the Board approved a tuition increase of 3.5 percent, setting the tuition for next year at $62,000.